Located between Florence and Venice, the city of Bologna hosts important political, economic and cultural institutions, furthermore it’s in here that in 1088 was born the first University in the world. Bologna has an extended old city centre with its characteristic porchs.
In the Piazza di Porta Ravegnata are located the two towers Torre degli Asinelli and Torre del Garisenda highlights and symbols of the city. The towers have been built in the 12th century by Aristocrats families, the city used to have a lots and their height symbolized the power of the family. Climbing the 102 meters of the taller Torre degli Asinelli you are going to be rewarded with a great panoramic view of the city.
Piazza Maggiore is the biggest square of the city and is where are located some of the most important monuments of the medieval city. The Palazzo Comunale dates from the 14th century and hosts the Communal Collection of Fine Arts with paintings from the 14th to the 19th century and the Museum of San Giorgio Morandi with more than 200 pieces of art of the Bolognese painter Giorgio Morandi.
Dedicated to the city patron’s saint, the Basilica di San Petronio was meant to be bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, but it has never been completed due to papal intervention. In spite of it, this massive gothic church remains the fifth biggest church of the world. Between its 22 chapels one of the most interesting is the Bolognini Chapel with some of the greatest Gothic examples of Italy.
In the adjacent square Piazza del Nettuno is located the Neptune’s Fountain, this 16th century fountain is another great symbol of the city. The cherubs are a representation of the winds and the sirens represent the four continents known until then.
Another 13th century church is the Basilica di San Domenico, the namesake chapel contains its tomb, elaborate sarcophagus depicting scene of his life. The tomb has been designed by Nicola Pisano even though the carvings have been made by several artists such as Pisano, Niccolò dell’Arca and Michelangelo.
The Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Picture Gallery) gathers together all the major paintings of the city from the 14th century, including works of Raphael, Guido Reni and Vitale de Bologna.
The 13th century church of San Giacomo Maggiore has been restored in 1722, worthy of attention the Bentivoglio Chapel and the Chapel of Santa Cecilia.
Furthermore, the city has a wide and long-lasting culinary tradition, between its specialties the most famous are Ragù alla Bolognese, meat based sauce usually used to prepare Lasagna or Tagliatelle, Mortadella large sausage flavored with spices and pistachios and Tortellini ring-shaped pasta stuffed with meat or cheese.